[Spotlight] Meeting Bobby Brown
A Greensboro mother drove her epileptic daughter all the way to Atlanta to meet her idol, Bobby Brown. Ashley Benton (organizer of the nonprofit The Green Team Helping Hands) wrote in an email that she took her daughter, Jada Hooks to The Black Experience and Expo in Atlanta, which she wrote is the largest consumer show targeting African Americans in the United States on April 28.
“People go there to promote and sell their brands,” Benton wrote in an email. “Bobby Brown was there to sell his food line ‘Bobby Brown Foods.’ I have all of his music along with the other members of New Edition, yet my daughter Jada took on a flight of her own with Bobby Brown. She has always loved him because he was different from others which reminded her of herself. She feels different from others due to epilepsy, and following the beat to her own drum as Bobby did so very well.”
Benton wrote that she found out a few days before Brown appeared in Atlanta for the expo and that she was friends with Brown’s bodyguard on Instagram (who helped facilitate the meeting). But that wasn’t her first encounter with the singer-songwriter, dancer, actor and now entrepreneur. Last year, Benton wrote that Hooks had a seizure and she asked for prayers on her Facebook page. Benton wrote that Brown (who is friends with her on Facebook) commented on her post with the “praying hands emoji,” she wrote, “which really drove my daughter crazier for him.”
“[Brown] took the time to spend with Jada, asking her has she been doing better and had she been good,” Benton wrote. “He was very concerned about [Hooks’s]seizures that’s why he asked her ‘was she good now?’”
Benton wrote that Hooks was diagnosed with Tonic-clonic (Grand Mal) seizures, myoclonic epilepsy and absence (Petit Mal) seizures. Benton wrote that Hooks had seizures every day and was diagnosed in 2015 at the age of 15.
“We have been very lucky that Jada has bounced back from the many seizures that she’s had,” Benton wrote. “Any seizure that she has is traumatic, so it’s very important that we as parents help to keep our children motivated. When they get these diagnoses, it changes their whole lives which can bring on other things such as depression, suicidal thoughts, etc. We as parents should give our children all the inspiration they need and meeting their idol, someone they relate to is quite memorable and accepting!”
In the future, Hooks hopes to meet her other idol: basketball player Stephen Curry. Benton said Hooks used to play basketball at Ben L. Smith High School before her diagnosis. Hooks has been a basketball player since she was 3 years old, but her diagnosis has made her unable to play.
“Her older brother, Jamarl, made a pretend goal in our backyard with a crate and a pole and started teaching her how to ball,” Benton wrote. “She wants to meet Stephen Curry so bad! She knows all of his history all of his stats and everything about him just like Bobby Brown! You can ask her any question about both of them, and she has the answer!”
Benton said all in all; it was a “heartfelt experience” to meet Brown. She wanted Hooks’s story to be told “to show others that anything they dream of, can happen! Dream, believe and achieve!”